I’m on a high today. And it’s not because it’s Friday and we have a fun filled weekend ahead of us- although that doesn’t hurt.
I’ve had a great week at work. The kind of week that makes you want to dance on a table, sing out loud to the world, “I LOVE MY JOB!”
In the mental health field, this doesn’t happen often. Actually, I find that, as a therapist, my week is either REALLY bad or REALLY good. There’s never any gray area. It’s black or white.
So it’s been a really good week. And I’m enjoying these flowers and card in my office today as a gift from a patient who finally discharged from treatment.
This week, this particular patient taught me an important lesson about words. Yup, words.
Yeah, yeah, we know that what we say and how we say it is important. But often times, in my job/career, I wonder if any of my patients are actually listening to me. While 90% of my job requires me to listen and be empathic and all that jazz, the other 10% requires me to give guidance, words of wisdom and support and at times, advice.
There are times (more often than not) that I wonder if anyone hears me or takes anything I have to say to heart. When I see my patients repeating the same behaviors, habits and attitudes that are keeping them miserable and stuck in the first place, it can be frustrating. One of those “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” things.
But this week, as one of my patient’s was discharging from our program, she shared with the community her own type of graduation speech- she titled it, “52 Things I Learned in Treatment”.
When she read them aloud, I recognized many of them to be things I had said to her throughout the course of her treatment. “Leap and the net will appear”, “you’re uncomfortable? do it anyway”,”does this relationship brighten or dim you?”,”your body is just a vessel for your soul.” There were sweet moments when she paused, looked at me with tears in her eyes and we smiled at each other, silently remembering when we had had that particular conversation. These were words and lessons that I had shared with her for many months and frankly, questioned myself how much was really sinking in.
But something did sink in for her. And I’m not egotistical or self-absorbed enough to think that I really had anything to do with it. It had a lot less to do with me and more to do with her.. When she was finally ready to let her guard down and open up to the beauty and wisdom that was already around her, she began healing.
My point is this- choose your words carefully. Make sure they reflect your intentions. Because people will listen and receive them. So make your words count. And at the same time, open your ears and your heart. Someone might be speaking to you, and you never know what you’ll learn about yourself in the process.
But that’s enough intense sappiness for the day. It’s Friday, people. Kick back, grab a drink and plan your weekend fun.